And Finally Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #19: Some Sugababes v a Sugababe

By | Published on Saturday 22 May 2010

Quite how it was that neither Universal Music nor the girl group’s management ever thought to trademark the highly valuable Sugababes brand isn’t clear, but as such an oversight brings us fun stories like this one, who are we to complain? The current Sugababes have responded to the previously reported trademark claim launched by former Sugababe Mutya Buena.

Buena, a founder member of the group, applied to the Trademark And Design Registration Office Of The European Union (or OHIM, as it likes to be known) for ownership of the Sugababes name in November last year, with it officially marked as pending in March. The singer’s lawyers, Kilburn and Strode, told the BBC that they were “hopeful” that the application would be approved and added that, although the other two founder members of the group, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy, were named on the application, Buena is the “sole applicant”.The group’s current longest serving member, Heidi Range initially said that there was no contest, telling Radio 1: “Our record company [Universal/Island] owns the name so there’s no conversations about who owns the name”. However, a search of the OHIM database showed that Buena’s application was the first they had received for the Sugababes name.

Earlier this month, the band and Universal/Island both separately submitted notices of opposition to the claim. A spokesman for the label told the BBC yesterday: “Contractually, we are entitled to the use of the name Sugababes in connection with records and films. We are just protecting that right”.

If Buena’s claim is successful, it could block the current line-up of the group from using the Sugababes name in sound and video recordings, printed materials and for the purposes of entertainment. Which doesn’t leave them with many places to go. However, because of the “similarity of the goods and services” listed on the claim to those currently on offer from the active group, Universal/Island argue in a letter to OHIM that if the trade body did rule in favour of Buena “there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public”.

Buena, meanwhile, is working on her second solo album. The Sugababes are working on their eighth (assuming you count all eight as being by the same band).

This Beef Of The Week comes from this edition of the CMU Weekly. Subscribe to the CMU Weekly here.